Developing Cognitive Assessment Objectives in Language Syllabus Design

Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Modern Approach in Humanities.

Year: 2018 | Page No:69-81


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Developing Cognitive Assessment Objectives in Language Syllabus Design

Stephen McNamara



As research begins to push syllabus developers more firmly towards a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) based approach to second language acquisition, content-focused courses and their development are a growing trend in Japanese tertiary education contexts. Actions by the Ministry of Education (MEXT) have reinforced this focus, and have created a need for syllabus designers to adapt their practices to incorporate content learning as a vehicle for driving second language acquisition. In turn, cognitive development, seen in CLIL theory as having a synergistic effect on linguistic and content mastery, is an area of interest for syllabus designers in Japan, especially as widely publicised context-specific teaching materials are still in earlier stages of dissemination.
This study looks in detail at the relationship between cognitive domain taxonomic indicators and how they interact with linguistic development, in a specific Japanese tertiary syllabus. This study aims to improve the efficacy of this syllabus and its assessment in the following ways:
1. By distinguishing students’ perceptions of difficulty in answering quiz questions based on Bloom’s and Anderson and Krathwohl’s taxonomies of the cognitive domain (1956, 2001), using a 12 item questionnaire;
2. By comparing these perceptions of difficulty to the difficulty levels implied by the hierarchical nature of the taxonomies;
3. To offer conclusions and suggestions made from the implications of one and two, in order to better develop course teaching and assessment for both language acquisition and content mastery
Keywords: CLIL, Cognitive Domain, Cognitive Taxonomy, Syllabus Design, Assessment Design, Japan